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Judge's Review: 94 Rating - Samuel Adams 2019 Utopias by The Boston Beer Co.

November, 2019

Samuel Adams 2019 Utopias

Samuel Adams 2019 Utopias

United States
Samuel Adams 2019 Utopias, The Boston Beer Co.

Samuel Adams Utopias is America’s most extreme (and expensive) bottle of beer, reminiscent of a rich vintage Port or fine Sherry thanks to its unique barrel-aging process and proprietary brewing techniques. This special biennial release has earned credibility among the craft beer community and built a strong following since its evolution from Triple Bock when Samuel Adams first pioneered the practice of aging beer in used spirits barrels. Using only the world’s finest ingredients, this time-intensive, multiyear brewing and aging process is well worth the wait.
Like its predecessors, 2019 Utopias is a blend of earlier batches of Samuel Adams extreme beers, a catalog dating back over 25 years, which have been aging in wooden bourbon casks from Buffalo Trace Distillery. Brewers took portions of this beer and transferred them to Aquavit, Carcavelos and ruby port barrels to impart complex flavors to the beer.
This year, brewers experimented with Cognac and Madeira finishing barrels which enhanced 2019 Utopias with distinct vanilla notes and subtle nutty and elegant dark fruit aromas. As a final step, and to add a slightly tart note, brewers blended in a touch of Kosmic Mother Funk (KMF)®, a unique wild ale that is fermented for two years in Hungarian Oak foeders at the Boston Brewery. Only 77 wooden casks of Utopias were brewed this year.
How to Enjoy Utopias: Samuel Adams Utopias is botted in a custom, 25.4-ounce ceramic decanter modeled after the iconic copper brew kettles. A brew as unique and complex as Utopias should be enjoyed in a glass that enhances its aroma and flavor, like a small-bowled Cognac or snifter glass at room temperature in one-ounce pours. Unlike other beers, drinkers can have a portion of Utopias now and save the rest for other occasions.
Pricing & Availability: 2019 Utopias is available nationwide, where laws allow, in specialty beer and liquor stores starting October 15 for an SRP of $210 per bottle. Price varies by market and availability is limited.
For the first time ever, drinkers can exclusively enjoy 2019 Utopias on tap on November 15 to celebrate the Samuel Adams Cincinnati Taproom’s one-year anniversary. This tasting event will take place in the taproom located across the street from where Utopias is barrel-aged at the Samuel Adams Cincinnati Brewery. Tickets and event information will be available soon.

Beverage Profile
Served at: 
Room temperature
Samuel Adams Two-Row Pale Malt Blend, Munich 10, Caramel 60, Samuel Adams Octoberfest Malt
Spalt Spalter, Hallertau Mittelfrueh, Tettnang Tettnanger



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Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
6 / 6
39 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
20 / 20

Samuel Adams 2019 Utopias by The Boston Beer Co. is a barrel-aged, very strong ale and is being evaluated as a Wood-Aged Beer (category 33A in the 2015 BJCP Beer Style Guidelines). The best examples of Wood-Aged Beers have a "harmonious blend" between the base beer and the wood/spirits resulting in a flavorful, complex blend. Utopias is a blend of past Samuel Adams extreme beers and has been barrel-aged in bourbon, Aquavit, Carcavelos, Cognac, Madeira and ruby port barrels. The alcohol content is a stunning 28 percent ABV.

Utopias pours dark brown and crystal clear with no head and tons of legs. The very high alcohol content is obvious from the aroma; while never egregiously hot or fusel, the alcohol aroma is very prominent, even when compared with other strong beers. Beyond the alcohol, the aromas are prominently rich caramel malt and rich dark and dried fruits of plums, raisins and prunes. The body is medium-full, (purposely) uncarbonated and moderate (but not unpleasant) alcohol warmth. The flavor is strong and complex with rich caramel malt, dried fruits of prune, toasted oak and maple syrup finishing with obviously strong alcohol.

The complexity of the process to make Utopias is off-the-charts and the originality of this beer is unmatched. The beer is rich and complex but lacks a little harmony because of the extreme alcohol content; Utopias drinks more like a distilled spirit than a fermented beverage. Unfortunately, the individual characters of the various barrel spirits are lost among the blend. Regardless, this is an excellent, unique beverage that you must try -- even if it is only for a few sips!